COVID’s Effect on Healthcare is Abating
On May 7th, 2021, CIGNA announced that patients are utilizing preventative care at levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, mammographies, vaccinations for children, cancer screenings, and colonoscopies have risen tremendously in the past few months and serve as early indicators of patients returning to pre-COVID habits. The healthcare industry is breathing a sigh of relief at this news as healthcare services severely dropped in 2020, marking this the first recession ever to see a decrease in healthcare spending. As stated by the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation, “[The drop in spending] was unprecedented, as year-over-year personal consumption expenditures on health services have grown every month since the data became available in the 1960s.”
From the beginning of 2021 until now, COVID-19 cases have dropped faster than Cigna expected, aligning with the rise in utilization of non-COVID care. This is welcome news to physicians, as their offices in 2020 saw the steepest drop in revenue compared to other healthcare providers, including ambulances, laboratories, hospitals, and outpatient surgical centers. Much of this bodes well for the future, enough so as health insurers have firmed up and increased financial expectations for the rest of the year. We may be looking at the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the US, and it may have arrived just in time for the many healthcare providers trying to hold on.